MUMBAI:The Sheena Bora murder case took another turn on Tuesday after Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria was promoted as Director General (DG) and transferred with immediate effect as head of Home Guards and Commandant of Civil Defence Services. Maria had not only got the initial clue in the three-year-old murder case but also cracked it within a short period.
Hours before he left for Japan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis effected the transfer. Maria’s posting is considered insignificant in the State police force. He was due for promotion and subsequent transfer on September 30. However, his premature elevation and the choice of his successor surprised police circles and raised several questions. The Mumbai police commissioner’s post is traditionally held by an officer of the rank of Additional Director General (ADG). However, in an unusual move Fadnavis upgraded the post and appointed Ahmed Javed, DG of Home Guards, as Maria’s replacement.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) K P Bakshi later in the evening said Maria will continue to monitor the investigation in the Sheena murder case. A source said Bakshi’s statement will puzzle the police force as there is no precedent of a former commissioner encroaching the incumbent’s domain. “The police have already arrested three accused persons. The only issue left to be probed is the money trail in the case. Maria had already roped in the City Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) to trace the money trail. The EOW reports to the commissioner only. So it is unlikely that Maria will be briefed on their investigation,” the source said.
Upset with his unceremonious transfer, Maria left the Police Headquarters in Crawford Market without handing over charge to Javed. He accepted the customary send-off though. Javed, who assumed office in the afternoon, said that investigation into any case involved teamwork. “The interrogation in the Sheena Bora case is almost over,” he said.
Commenting on Maria’s transfer, ex-commissioner Satya Pal Singh, now a BJP MP from UP, said, “There must be a compelling reason which made the CM show him (Maria) the out gate.”